White & Case and Lovells set for lockstep overhauls

White & Case and Lovells set for lockstep overhauls” />White & Case has unveiled its new-look partner compensation system at the same time as Lovells concludes the first phase of its own remuneration review.

The US firm launched the review last May, with the establishment of a remuneration taskforce, headed by New York partner Kevin Barnard and including London partner Dan Hamilton.

The group was the first to examine White & Case’s remuneration structure since 1980. It consulted extensively with current and retired partners and also introduced an anonymous online survey to hear partners’ views.

White & Case’s previous modified lockstep consisted of 10 phases, with the first four largely automatic and merit-based allocation thereafter.

The new system, unveiled at last month’s partners’ retreat in Los Angeles, is comprised of four stages of career progression, with 17 rungs or “allocation”. The system is designed to allow more flexibility and, in particular, more flexibility in remunerating partners in less profitable offices.

Meanwhile, Lovells has concluded a consultation exercise on plans to overhaul its lockstep. Partners at the firm were given until last Monday (31 January) to submit their comments to a working party, headed by senior partner John Young, on how the lockstep should be restructured.

Lovells sources have indicated there was little support for adopting a bonus pool or a global ‘superpoints’ system to reward outstanding revenue generators. Equally, there was no appetite for introducing a system of gateways like Ashurst’s.

But the consultation revealed that many partners would support tweaking the lockstep so that those in the less profitable overseas offices could join the ladder with fewer points.

Lovells’ equity partners currently start on 24 points and gather three points every 12 months over a 12-year period.

The working group is now reviewing partners’ responses and will report its findings to the international executive.